Joe Ravi/Creative Commons

With Christmas around the corner and specialty treats already in the oven or on the brew, I thought it would be fun to look at the wonderful seasonal spice Nutmeg.  Whether grated over eggnog, added to the pumpkin pie effect or steeped in a mulled wine or cider, nutmeg definitely is needed to warm the spirits and soothe the digestive tract during this time of year.

Nutmeg essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from seed or husk of the Myristica fragrans plant.  This oil has a warm spicy smell, very much like its grated counterpart that is used in cooking. Throughout the centuries nutmeg has not only been used as a culinary spice, but has also been considered therapeutic for digestive and renal disorders.

Massaged in a carrier oil in a clockwise motion over the belly, nutmeg essential oil aids in the relief of flatulence and indigestion.  For digestive imbalances it calms nausea and stimulates gastric juices so that the breakdown and assimilation of food is more productive.  Taken internally or massaged on, nutmeg is said to ease the inconvenience of diarrhea and the associated bloating and gas. (great for this time of over eating and gastric abuse!)

Because of nutmeg’s stimulating properties, it increases circulation and relieves the sluggish stagnation of arthritis, rheumatism and gout.  Where there is a build-up of acids in the tissue, nutmeg can be massaged in to release stiffness and its associated aches and pains. It can also help reduce glutiation in the musculature by detoxifying the acids. From a neurological standpoint, nutmeg is a wonderful support for nervous tension and mental fatigue.  And for the immune system, it supports and stimulates blood cell production to fight against bacterial infections.

Nutmeg essential oil is alleged to be an aphrodisiac, increasing sexual urge by relaxing and easing nervous stress and tension therefore heightening libido.  Impotence and frigidity are said to be alleviated with nutmeg, although how the essential oil is applied is important.  Never use an essential oil directly on the skin, as it is highly potent and can burn or irritate the skin.  When using essential oils for massage, they must always be blended in a carrier oil, (for example, almond, olive or grapeseed oil) and must never be used directly on the genitalia for stimulation.  Massaged anywhere on the general surface of the body will allow the oil to penetrate into the blood stream and travel to the relevant areas.  When an essential oil is said to be an aphrodisiac, it usually means that it can calm the nerves, and once the frenetic energy has subsided, there is more viable energy to use for more pleasurable things, such as sex.  Essential oils are also very effective when burned in an aroma lamp to create atmosphere. Certain chemicals in the brain are stimulated with aphrodisiac essential oils, and thus smelling their aroma can be enhance sexual desire since the odor permeates the limbic system, which stimulates the part of the brain associated with emotion. This stimulation then can create certain autonomic behaviors related to the release of sexual inhibitions. The sensate body is heightened and touch becomes more pleasurably erotic. The body is open to arousal and the senses are more acutely aware.

So the next time you have some eggnog or mulled wine at the office party, it might not be the alcohol causing the relaxation and release of inhibition.  Check to see if nutmeg was added!